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Young Defensive Linemen Continue to Impress

Depth has been the differentiator on Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney's defensive line with the Tigers' spring game less than a week away.

Head coach Dabo Swinney has sounded his delight for Clemson headliners like Bryan Bresee and Tyler Davis but is just as satisfied with the youth in the trenches this spring.

Both Swinney and defensive line coach Todd Bates has had the pleasure of coaching special units in the past. Still, the combination of top-heavy talent and youthful exuberance in 2021 has the Tigers' head coach giddy about the group's potential-starting with Bresee.

"Excited about all those young guys (on the defensive line)," Swinney said after Clemson's second team scrimmage Friday.

"With Bresee, I noticed him every single day. I mean every day. There's not a day that goes by that I don't notice No. 11. He had a safety today, I mean, he is just a problem, and he's passionate about it."

Stepping in for the injured Davis as a freshman, both Davis and Bresee are playing 'at another level' according to Swinney. Redshirt sophomore Greg Williams has caught the eye of the head coach as well, and after having his best career game as a Tiger against the Citadel in 2020, Williams is making a case in his third year to expand his role further.

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"Greg's making a lot of progress," Swinney said. "Still transitioning fully to defensive end, and I love where he is. I love his mentality; I love his commitment.

"He's a guy that's going to keep getting better, and nobody really says much about him, but we'll look up here in a couple of years, and everybody will say, 'Dang that Greg Williams turned out to be a great player,' It's kind of what I see in him because I think he's made of the right stuff. Excited about him."

It's no surprise Williams has made a jump in his third year but still stands in a loaded depth chart making a transition to edge rusher. On the inside at tackle, early enrollees DeMonte Capehart and Tre Williams alongside Payton Page are impressing while making a push for the rotational snaps behind Bresee and Davis.

"Capehart is making progress," Swinney said. He's a different guy than he was this time last year, just like a deer in headlights. Tre Williams is, as advertised, a special talent, explosive. He's got a great knack for finding the ball; he's tough. He still has to fundamentally and technically improve.

"(Tre Williams) still has to improve with his knowledge. He was hurt and had shoulder surgery last year and only played a couple of games. So I'm excited about all those young guys that have come in here, the same thing with Payton, and I think we have a bright future in that group."

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